Toddler Hysterical At Bedtime? 5 Possible Reasons

Whenever you announce it’s bedtime, your toddler either lashes out at you with a hysterical temper tantrum or dashes away from you to hide.

Sound familiar?

Sometimes, it’s the excuses. Your child announces they want a drink of water, need to peepee, or want to be held! It’s frustrating! 

Eventually, you will have a toddler hysterical at bedtime! Getting your toddler to fall asleep seems an impossible task.

Luckily, if you understand what’s causing the toddler tantrums, you can prepare and change the bedtime routine before time to help smoothen things out.

What you will learn in this post:

  • Why toddler can become hysterical at bedtime
  • 5 things you can do if you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime
  • Frequently asked questions

5 Reasons Why Your Toddler Is Hysterical At Bedtime

5 Common Reasons Why You Have a Hysterical Toddler at Bedtime

When you want your toddler to go to sleep, but they are hell-bent on hysterics every night… it could be for one of these 5 common reasons.

1. They Want Independence

Around age two, toddlers start learning the power of the word “No,” and the best people to practice it on are their parents.

Your toddler starts to assert their independence and usually chooses the worst time to do it, such as bedtime. To find out if this is the case, observe how many times a day your little one tends to say no. 

See also  Why Do Toddlers Cry In Their Sleep? 5 Reasons Here

For instance, check if they willingly agreed to wear what you picked for them or said they’d rather wear something different during bath time.

Or maybe they want to eat mashed potatoes with tomato sauce instead of the beef stew you spent hours preparing.

2. They Are Overexcited

Do you usually play games just before bedtime? Or perhaps allow some screen time?

Currently, everything your toddler sees is exciting, so they are likely to be overstimulated by the slightest thing.

Getting your toddler to fall asleep is a challenge when they are hyped!

If your days are filled with tons of activities, for instance, it may be too much for your child, which may overstimulate them.

3. Scared Of Sleeping

Think of a time you were so worried about the mortgage or getting fired, and you couldn’t sleep. The same thing happens to your toddler, but they are concerned about that green monster with eleven eyes. 

At the toddler stage, a kid’s imagination starts taking off, and they think of all sorts of things, some of which could keep them up at night.

Even when your child is not afraid of the dark, they may start seeing ghosts, monsters, and other eerie creatures, making it impossible to sleep.

If falling asleep is a struggle for your toddler every night, this could be the reason.

4. Your Toddler Is Overtired

When you are exhausted, all you look forward to is when you will slam down and sleep. For a toddler, however, the opposite is true.

When the clock says bedtime, they will still be buzzing with adrenaline making it impossible to settle down and fall asleep.

If they nap too late in the afternoon, your baby will have a lot of unused energy, even at bedtime, making it hard to go to sleep catch some z’s at night.

5. Sleep Regression

Sleep regression generally occurs between eighteen months and two years. At the same time, your child is learning to assert their newfound independence.

Besides noticing your little ones wanting to control what time they sleep, they will also resist naps and wake up during the night. 

Toddler hysterical at bedtime? Here Are 5 things to do

Toddlers need to learn independence, but using simple tasks such as carrying the cup to the kitchen is better than allowing them to decide their bedtime.

See also  My Toddler Keeps Escaping the House, What Can I Do?

Also, avoid stimulation and ensure your child gets enough sleep, so they aren’t overtired at night.

If your toddler is scared, talk to them about it, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even during a sleep regression. 

If you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime, then follow these 5 tips to make going to sleep easier again… because getting enough sleep is vital for your, your toddler, and the rest of your household.

4 Year Old Bedtime Battles and How to Overcome Them Infographic

1. Encourage Independence

Learning ‘grown-ups’ tasks is exciting and encourages your child to learn independence.

Use simple tasks such as choosing their clothes instead of their bedtime and whether to eat veggies or not. This way, you encourage your child’s development, but with limits.

2. Avoid Over Stimulation

During the first five years of life, kid’s brains develop at a high rate and require stimulation.

This does not mean you fill their days with activities, toys, and things to do instead of balancing quiet time in predictable places, fun activities, and nap time.

Balance keeps your child growing and ensures they are better prepared for bedtime.

Avoid too much stimulation if you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime.

3. Discuss Fears

Talk to your child about what’s keeping them from going to bed, but don’t force them to talk about it if they aren’t ready.

Once you know the problem, don’t build or support it by taking a broom and sweeping the monster away. This will only encourage your child to think the monster does exist.

Instead, use a secure object such as a blanket or toy, or offer companionship through sleeping with their older sibling or a pet. Sleeping with a little light on also helps, or maybe you could use a night light projector soothing music.

Avoid scary shows on television and look for activities to build your child’s self-confidence. Get your child to explain fears is the big takeaway message.

4. Use Nap Time

Naps give your child the much-needed rest their bodies and minds need to rest and recharge for the day. Also, they ensure your child is not overtired, which makes nap time that much worse.

Toddlers still need at least eleven hours of sleep, so ensure they nap during the day.

If you haven’t been using a sleeping schedule, start a routine that will help your child know when it’s time to sleep. A routine might even result in your toddler sleeping more at night.

This way, your kid will recognize when it’s bedtime and, thus, not resist. If they have been accustomed to a routine but are now resisting, try a different approach, such as starting the routine a little earlier than usual. 

See also  Help! My Toddler Wants Nothing to Do With Me - Use These Tips

This way, you can transition slowly to bedtime without being mentally exhausted. If this doesn’t work, your toddler may be experiencing sleep regression.

5. Manage Sleep Regression

Sleep regression usually lasts a few weeks, and while it’s frustrating, the best thing you can do is maintain a consistent bedtime routine.

Also, minimize major changes as much as possible and inform your child beforehand if you can’t avoid something.

For instance, if you need to rush to grandma’s place, let your little one know as opposed to scooping them up, fastening their car seat, and rushing off.

What do you do when your toddler screams at bedtime?

If you have a hysterical toddler at bedtime, you first need to find out the reason. Once you have found the reason, you need to address that!

Also, ensure that you reward good behavior. When your toddler goes to bed like a good toddler, reward them!

Let’s not forget that magic parenting work – routine. If you implement a good bedtime routine, then your toddler bedtime struggles will be so much easier.

How long should you leave a toddler to cry at bedtime?

Experts recommend that you leave your child to scream for a maximum of 5 minutes before visiting them.

How do I get my toddler to calm down before bed?

I had the same issue as you! I got over it by establishing a good bedtime routine and sticking to it. Kids love a routine, and by establishing one, you are preparing them for bed.

Brush teeth, read a book, lay down with some relaxing music on, and they will drift away without hysterics more often than not.

Also – you should limit your toddler’s exposure to technology at least 45 minutes before bed.


It’s frustrating when your child won’t sleep on time, but no matter how rough bedtime war is, your secret weapon is always to stay calm. If you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime, then the tips on this page will help!

When it’s bedtime, tell your kid in a calm tone that it’s time to sleep without encouraging negotiation. Instead, comfort your toddler, reassure them, and put them to sleep anyway.

Make bedtime easier and fun!

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

Leave a Comment